Marvel’s X-Men has always been known for tackling some of the most important human rights issues of the day, the most recent of which is gay rights; the first few movies from the current string of movies worked as a metaphor for gay rights, with mutants being told that they weren’t “natural” and being offered a cure for their “illness.” Now, the new issue of All New X-Men has revealed that one of the founders of the titular team of superheroes – Bobby Drake, aka Iceman – is gay.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal, lead writer on the series Brian Michael Bendis has said that there are millions of stories that could be told about people either confronting or hiding their sexuality, and that the X-Men series was a good way to examine such stories. He also noted that this is only the beginning of a larger story that will unfold across several more issues of All New X-Men.
“There are thousands, if not millions, of stories of people who, for many different reasons, felt the need to hide their sexuality. The X-Men, with the conceit of time travel, give us a fascinating platform in which to examine such personal journeys. This is just the first little chapter of a much larger story that will be told.”
However, Bendis has also said that he didn’t want to make sensationalist headlines, particularly negative ones, saying he just wanted the issue to come out and be enjoyed.
i swear on my dogs, i wanted the issue to come out and just be. no press. no sensational headlines. no leaks. oh, well…
— BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (@BRIANMBENDIS) April 21, 2015
This new storyline deviates from both the comic’s original run and the plotline developed for the X-Men film series, which set up a story of a relationship between Iceman and the female character Rogue. In the time-twisting issue of All-New X-Men, Jean Grey – the X-Men’s resident telepath – travels back in time and reads the mind of a young Iceman, revealing that he was gay when he was a teenager. She later returns to present day to alert the older Iceman of her discovery.
The Iceman news comes after Marvel has announced several changes to its canonical characters in an attempt to make its comic books more accessible to a new generation of readers. Previously, the company gave a woman the power and name of Thor, gave the black Sam Wilson the mantel of Captain America, and made a Muslim teenager the new Ms. Marvel.
The new issue of All New X-Men is currently available in all comic book retailers.
[Image via William Tung/Wikimedia Commons]